{Healthy} Nanaimo Bars [Recipe]

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Ok, so I have to clarify: You probably saw the word “Healthy” and assumed that this recipe was the equivalent to a raw carrot dipped in dark chocolate. Before I leave you making that assumption, however, let me clear the air a little: These are not carrots disguised as Nanaimo Bars. These are a real, honest-to-goodness dessert… And while it is true that they *are* a better-for-you version, they are still… well, dessert. And dessert by definition is no carrot, nor should it be (in my opinion, anyway).

I love Nanaimo Bars, but to be perfectly honest, I always found them a little too sweet. So, thinking along the lines of those delicious oatmeal/coconut no-bake cookies we all love to make from time to time, I tweaked this recipe to suit my taste a little better. If you’re like me, then I hope you’ll enjoy my version of this classic dessert.

These Nanaimo Bars have a crust packed with oatmeal, coconut, and nuts with a thinner layer of the sweet cream in the middle and a rich, thick chocolate layer to top them off. They are a nutty, textured bar with the sweetness of vanilla buttercream and the contrast of dark chocolate on top- Perfect. If you find that these are a little too low on the sweetness for your taste, I would recommend doubling my recipe for the cream layer in the middle. Thickening that up a bit will add a bit of sweetness, and also a bit more of the creamy centre if you prefer to have it like that.

Here’s how it’s done!

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Nanaimo Bars [Recipe]

Makes about 30-32 large or 48 small bars.
*Weight measurements taken from various online sites, for your convenience in translating. I have not made this recipe by weight.

Ingredients:

Base:
1 c. (227g) butter
1/2 c. (100g) sugar
2/3 c. (86g) cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. (5mL) vanilla
2 c. (200g) graham wafer crumbs
2 c. (170g) ground oats (use a coffee grinder and pulse a few times to grind)
2 c. (200g) shredded coconut
1 c. (100g) finely chopped walnuts

Filling:
1/4 c. (57g) butter
2 Tbsp. (16g) instant vanilla pudding powder
3 Tbsp. (45mL) milk
2 c. (256g) sifted icing sugar

Chocolate Topping:
1-1/2 c. (263g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. (57g) butter

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For the Base:
Melt butter, sugar, and cocoa in a saucepan and blend in beaten eggs till cooked (the hot liquid will cook the egg quickly, just give it a couple of minutes. Stir in vanilla and press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.

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For the Filling:
Cream butter and blend in other ingredients.  Spread over base.  Chill. (If you like the sweet cream to be thicker, you can double this recipe and spread it over the crust.)

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For the Topping:
Melt together.  Spread on chilled mixture.  Allow the chocolate to just set, and score marks in the chocolate where you will be cutting them into bars.  Chill.  Cut along pre-marked lines into bars.

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And then… Eat ’em. Feed them to your guests. Be your own guest and feed them to yourself. 🙂

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Enjoy!

Back as soon as I can!

–Naomi

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